I should rename this blog, possibly “The infrequent blogger”, but I want to tell you about proper bike shops that sell spokes and everything!9
February 8, 2015 by welshcyclist
I must apologise to my dear reader, I haven’t posted for a very long time, but what with life, work and cycling, it’s kind of hectic for this welshcyclist. Where do all you bloggers, I admire so much, find the time to do it all. They say the sign of a great player, is that they seem to have so much time on the ball etc., so therein lies a truth perhaps, “I just don’t have time on the ball”, or my trusty Pioneer.
New brake blocks.
Commuting on my Pioneer, still, is my greatest cycling enjoyment, and I maintain three or four trips a week, save for this last fortnight, ice on the roads in this beautiful Neath valley, and a few broken spokes, which turned in to a disaster, as the mechanic at Tredz, rightly, summed it up.
Yes, I found a broken spoke, with several lose either side, of course it had to be on the back wheel. I secured the broker, by tightly inserting it between two others at the hub, and thought that would do the trick till I got some replacements. The next day there was a sheet of ice where the road should be, so I wimped out of my commute. And so it followed for the next few days. A week last Friday I rang Halfords to check if they stocked spokes of the right size, I tried all their shops in my area, Aberdare, Merthyr, Neath, Swansea and Aberavon, a big fat no. Because, even though they are a bike shop and “repair” bikes, they don’t order in spokes, because they have to order a box of 100, which, then the shop has to carry as excess stock. You couldn’t make it up!
So then I rang Tredz, who said of course we stock spokes, just bring in the wheel, to make sure I got the right size. So last Monday, I duly took off my back wheel and drove to Tredz, in Swansea, on my way to my night shift. Sadly, in Tredz shop the mechanic was on break, and wouldn’t be back for 20 minutes, and I couldn’t spare that amount of time. Right next door to Tredz, is their Specialised store, Tredz obviously have the local franchise, because they run the store as a separate entity, agreed, it’s complex. So I asked if I could go in there, to be told of course.
The Specialised mechanic was on duty, I gave him the wheel, which he examined, and he came up with the dreaded statement, “we have a real disaster here!”. He then pointed out that the rim was broken, and my only option was a new wheel, as usual I should have taken a picture for you, my faithful reader, but I didn’t. The thought of being without my commuter while I waited for a new back wheel , was a very depressing thought, and fearing the worst, because, I was in a “proper” bike shop that actually sold spokes, I asked how much would a new wheel cost. Hopefully, the mechanic said that there was a sale on, I said I wasn’t willing to pay a lot! He replied that he would pop next door to see what he could do for me.
He disappeared through the connecting door into Tredz next door. He was away for a few minutes, and as I glanced round the Specialised store, I could see why, he had decided to see what he could do for me there, as the wheels, albeit sets of two, in the showroom started from £300 plus. I was beginning to worry what Tredz, a proper bike shop that sells spokes, would charge for a wheel.
The mechanic came back through the connecting door with a wheel in each hand, a black one and a stainless steel version, both extremely good wheels, he said, suitable for the kind of mileage I do each week, in most weathers, except, of course, icy conditions. I asked how much, he went to the till and proceeded to check. The black version was £75 down to £65 in the sale, I gulped with disappointment, and the stainless steel £65 down to £58! I was now in a quandary, I wanted my bike fixed, yet, I had never paid that kind of money for a wheel, £30 tops in Halfords, who don’t sell spokes and who provided my current wheel that had split after less than 12 months, so can’t be classed as a proper bike shop!
I was now umming and ahhing, the black version would match my front wheel, but was too expensive, so I went for the stainless steel one, £58, gulp!! What had I done? The mechanic said that he would transfer my cassette and tyre to the new Mavic wheel, which he did in minutes, and then we marched round the front of the store back into Tredz, for me to part with my hard earned cash. He gave the till operator the wheel with its price tag, I thanked him for his extremely professional help, and he went back to the Specialised shop. Checking the price, the man at the till said that the wheel would set me back £56, i.e., less than next door. Tredz it seems, though a proper bike shop that sells spokes, isn’t quite up there with the Specialised shop, where things are that bit more expensive. Feeling very guilty about spending so much to keep me rolling, I paid up and set off for work with my brand new Mavic wheel and my old decrepit Halfords one.
Parting with that kind of money was a shock to my system, and as already stated, I feel guilty, because in essence, it was probably a selfish thing to do. I was willing to spend so much to keep my beloved commute on track! I try to console myself with the fact that I save on diesel, and am helping, ever so slightly, to save the planet, but the guilt is still there, ugh.
But it’s done now. Of course, I had to fit the wheel, which I duly did next morning, couldn’t sleep after my night shift. I put new brake blocks at the back as well, the professional mechanic had said that he could see from the rim of the old wheel that they needed replacing, i.e., black dust from the compound that the blocks were made of. Good or what? Definitely a proper bike shop, that sells spokes and everything. Trouble is, one has to pay for professionals and quality, a Gold service costs £150 there, not including parts.
Just thought my reader would want to know about a proper bike shop.